A "snail link" -- an article from the NYT Science Times that caught our politico-philosopho-scientific eye ten years ago. Not having the option of URL linking in those pioneering days, this protoblogger clipped the thing, underlined important passages, sent xeroxed copies to our small circle of interested parties and then carefully filed it away in a drawer, from which we were able to pull it this afternoon after all these years.
"Meanwhile, the fossil record showed crabs, fish and others who would dine on these shelled delicacies diversifying and becoming better at cracking, popping, drilling and peeling their victims open," goes the snail link from February 7, 1995, referred to in our last post. For ten years this brilliant/crackpot explanation has been festering in our brain. We're talking here about what went wrong with the Democrats, not to mention their leftist allies in academia, the MSM and the larger world of international progressivists.
We were able to retrieve and reread the actual newspaper clipping from our snail files this afternoon -- a New York Times Science Times article about the work of blind paleontologist Geerat Vermeij, who "reads the embattled history of a snail in the dents and damage to its shell . . . mollusks appear to have evolved ever more rugged armor to protect their delicate flesh just as their predators developed more vicious weaponry":
Paleontologists have typically ignored ecological interactions like predation, many focusing instead on how large-scale, physical factors like climate change shape life in the fossil record. Dr.Vermeij's views have forced them to rethink the importance of animals in shaping each other's evolutionary fates.
"It's anything but the romantic idea that nature is kind and stable," said Dr. Vermeij. "To some people it isn't a pretty view of the world. It's nasty, and things get nastier and nastier. Everyone is affected mostly by their enemies."
This was the very same insight of something we read the other day on one of our everyday fave blogs -- don't remember which one but will link if we can find it -- where the point was made . . . and it's HUGE . . . that leftists have become soft and flabby in their thinking over the last 20, 30 or more years because their fellow travelers in the mainstream media -- supposed to be keeping them honest -- have been giving them a free ride, even as thinkers of the right, not enjoying such reflexive support, have been honing our debating and intellectual survival skills. That leaves the left soft and lazy and the right battle ready. Enter the bloggers, stage right. As paleontologist Dr. Vermeij might say, "It isn't going to be pretty." Googling the good doctor, we were thrilled to see his field studies of animal evolution had led him to very much the same place Thomas Sowell has come to in his studies of economics. Re Vermeij's new book, Nature: An Economic History, from the Princeton University Press:
From humans to hermit crabs to deep water plankton, all living things compete for locally limiting resources. This universal truth unites three bodies of thought -- economics, evolution and history -- that have developed largely in mutual isolation. Here, Geerat Vermeij undertakes a groundbreaking and provocative exploration of the facts and theories of biology, economics and geology to show how processes common to all economic systems -- competition, cooperation, adaptation and feedback -- govern evolution as surely as they do the human economy, and how historical patterns in both human and nonhuman evolution follow from this principle.
The leftist utopian dream was doomed from the start because it denied the economic logic of nature and human nature. The long-repressed voices of opposition in a free society, now ringing loud and clear through talk radio, cable TV and -- of course -- the blogosphere, will force the left to rethink its arguments or go extinct.
Update: Richard Landes links in a related post "On Winfield Myers: Professors Who Don't Like Negative Feedback":
Sissy Willis at Sisu remarked a while ago that the “left” has been talking to itself for so long that they don’t do well in responding to real objections. This certainly seems to be a sign of such weakness.